Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Tammy Lynn Haut Donahue


Gregory M Odegard


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating disease that is becoming more prevalent in today’s society. OA affects approximately 28 million adults in the United States alone and when present in the knee joint, usually leads to a total knee replacement. Numerous studies have been conducted to determine possible methods to halt the initiation of OA, but the structural integrity of the menisci has been shown have a direct effect on the progression of OA. Menisci are two C-shaped structures that are attached to the tibial plateau and aid in facilitating proper load transmission within the knee. The meniscal cross-section is wedge-like to fit the contour of the femoral condyles and help attenuate stresses on the tibial plateau. While meniscal tears are common, only the outer 1/3 of the meniscus is vascularized and has the capacity to heal, hence tears of the inner 2/3rds are generally treated via meniscectomy, leading to OA. To help combat this OA epidemic, an effective biomimetric meniscal replacement is needed. Numerous mechanical and biochemical studies have been conducted on the human meniscus, but very little is known about the mechanical properties on the nano-scale and how meniscal constituents are distributed in the meniscal cross-section. The regional (anterior, central and posterior) nano-mechanical properties of the meniscal superficial layers (both tibial and femoral contacting) and meniscal deep zone were investigated via nanoindentation to examine the regional inhomogeneity of both the lateral and medial menisci. Additionally, these results were compared to quantitative histological values to better formulate a structure-function relationship on the nano-scale. These data will prove imperative for further advancements of a tissue engineered meniscal replacement.